essential oils · kids · parenting · quarantine

DIY Scented Crayons Using Essential Oils

Have you ever made your own crayons? I was looking for some fun homeschool activities to do with my kiddos and stumbled on a recipe for making your own crayons and someone suggested scenting them.

I am personally allergic to artificial fragrance and we don’t use it in our home, but I do have and love essential oils!

Here is what you will need for this project:

  • Old crayons (broken with paper peeled off)
  • Muffin/cupcake pan
  • Cupcake liners
  • Butter spray or olive oil spray
  • Essential oils

Here are the steps:

1. Preheat oven to 250. If crayons are not already peeled and broken into small pieces you will need to do that.

2. Decide if you want each crayon to be a different color or if you want rainbow crayons. Either way, you may want to divide your broken crayon pieces up into piles by color.

Peel paper, break into pieces and sort by color.

3. Place a liner in each section of the muffin pan. We sprayed lightly with cooking spray so the liner would come off easily. Then add crayons. I recommend placing the pan on a foil lined cookie sheet.

4. Place the pan in the oven and leave in for 15 about minutes.

5. Pull out and add two drops of desired essential oil to each crayon, then return to oven for another 15 minutes. My daughter felt it was important to color code the oil with the crayon color (pictured below).

She color coded the oil with crayon color. 🌈

6. She was eager to use her new crayons so we placed in the freezer for a half hour after we removed from the oven.

If you appreciate nostalgic stories I thought I would also share my first experience making my own crayon. I was about seven or eight: I remember being bored as a kid and taking my old pieces of crayon, and wondering if I could melt them to make a new one like the multicolored ones I had seen at church. I was little so I wasn’t allowed to use the stove or oven, but I could use the sun’s heat. I had an idea. But I would need a container. It just so happened that it was Pillsbury cinnamon roll day at my house, and so I asked my mom to save the cup the icing comes in. That cup would be perfect for my crayon experiment. It was summer, so it was hot enough I thought. I put my broken crayons, paper peeled off, in the icing container, and set it out in a sunny spot. I came back out several hours later, and just as I expected I had lovely melted rainbow wax. I brought it inside and let it cool off and was so proud of that crayon.

**Did you know there was such a thing as National Crayon Day? It is March 31, the day I am writing this. Mark your calendar for next year and this may be the perfect activity for celebrating it. 😊

kids · parenting · quarantine

Photo Scavenger Hunt

We’ve really liked doing scavenger hunts during this stay home time, and one of our favorites has been the Photo Scavenger Hunt.

We had so many laughs, so many do-overs and it forced us to be silly. Best scavenger hunt we’ve done! Here is the hunt list from Craftaholics Anonymous (thank you!) and I also included some of our pics for you to enjoy.

Click on the hunt list for the printable from Craftaholics Anonymous.
Piggy back ride (#15) and yes, the youngest is in her PJs! We have a very relaxed dress code here. 😊
Playing air guitar (#9)
Jumping in the air (#1)
Emojis (#30)
adventures with kids · kids · parenting · quarantine

Three Kite Flying Secrets

I have been posting pics of my kids flying kites for several springs now and have had other parents ask me for tips. “What am I doing wrong?” they will say. “Our kite just won’t fly.”

Secret #1: Cheap kites are the best. They are the lightest which makes them great flyers. My father-in-law is a whiz with kites so we’ve had nicer ones and they really are hard for little kids to get started. When we started getting the cheap Barbie or Elsa or Buzz Lightyear kites, we had way fewer tears and the kids could do it themselves.

Cheap Barbie kite for the win!

Secret #2: Get the kites while you can. You don’t see kites year round. They tend to be available late February and all of March. When you see them it may still be cold outside and flying one may be furthest from your mind, but if you wait til late spring and for a windy day, you may not find these. We get ours at Walmart.

Secret #3: Kite flying can be done anytime of year! We tend to think of March- the windy month. But here in Tennessee, the day before any good rain shower tends to be windy. So watch your wind forecast and if you see rain, the day before tends to be windy!

Based on what I have read, kites will fly well between 8-24 mph, and even as a light of a breeze as 5-12 mph. If you can feel the breeze on your face, you can probably fly a kite. Personally we like our kites to really fly and put on a show, so I look for anywhere between 11-18 mph as our ideal. Less than that isn’t quite enough to get it up and keep it going, and more than that can be too much. I’ve circled the wind speed on the graphic below.

According to this graph the best bet for kite flying would be Sunday at 4pm.
parenting · Uncategorized

5 Dilemmas Faced by the “Bad Cop” Parent

Let’s get real. Nobody WANTS to be the bad guy. Everyone wants to be liked, and no parent wants to always be the “bad cop” in the family.

Between my husband and myself, I am definitely more of a bad cop than he is, but my children are fortunate because he will put his foot down and can be the bad cop when necessary. In fact, because he isn’t a bad cop as often, I think at times when he does play the bad cop role, it can make more of an impact on them.

Most days, he’s the good guy (and also a great dad). But sometimes I want to be the fun one. I want to let my hair down and be wild. And sometimes I actually do – I give myself permission to have fun and let my children see that side of me. But more on that later.

First of all, here are 5 dilemmas I see as a “bad cop” parent, being the one who sees themselves as the voice of reason, who wants to teach responsibility, who knows kids need boundaries and that discipline is a form of caring:

  1. It’s tiring. Always being the one who has to settle the arguments, squash the complaining, get everyone to clean up and do their part, get the homework done, guide better choices, encourage better eating habits – while you know it’s the right thing, man are you exhausted.
  2. You’re the bearer of bad news.big part of the “bad cop” parent’s role is to say NO. The good cop parent typically gets to be the good guy and almost always says YES. But children can’t be allowed to do as they please 24/7. That would result in an entitled brat of a child. (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind.) So you enter the room and set the record straight that “no, you can’t have some more junk food or you won’t be able to sleep tonight,” and “no you can’t binge watch YouTube videos for hours on end.”
  3. Parenting is so much harder when a good cop is in the room. I can take my girls somewhere or be at home with them alone, and have NO issues. They know where I stand on just about everything and know not to test. But if we are in a situation where a good cop is in proximity – sometimes it can be their dad but it’s often another family member – they will test! My youngest especially. She will do things that she would NEVER EVER do if it were just she and I. She becomes bold and spunky and defiant and sometimes it breaks my heart. We can be in public and I will ask her to leave something alone that belongs something else and she will keep messing with it and just look at me. The other family member will say it’s ok, that she is fine, she is “not hurting anything.” One night this week she was lying on our set of bleachers and kicking the bleachers, shaking everyone in our section. I asked her to stop and the other family member said it was ok. At that point I just need to leave the room! It leaves me feeling disrespected by my child and the family member.
  4. The right thing and the easy thing are rarely the same. It’s easier to let kids play on their tablet for two hours straight, and easier to let them eat whatever they want. Currently I’m exercising bad cop mode on both of these issues. As I type this, my girls are not allowed to have any screen time for the next two hours, AND I’ve turned down their request for cookies and chips. I told them they could grab some cut fruit from the fridge if they’re really hungry, and they are working on rainbow loom bracelets at the moment. What’s nice though, is despite the moaning and complaining that may ensued at first, they are enjoying making their bracelets and love apple slices. It’s that initial moving past not getting their way in the moment where the tension strikes, the protesting happens, and where I could see the good cop caving in. 
  5. We do it to ourselves. I really think so. My husband and I are so like-minded on how children should be raised, I often wonder if I would just keep my mouth closed, if he would chime in, say NO, and take care of the issue. Bad cop parents (or at least it is true for me) are quick to squash the dilemma that it could be the other parent doesn’t have an opportunity to address it. I am a quick reactor and decision maker, and have a lower tolerance for discord and misbehavior than he does. So I naturally nip it in the bud so we can get on with things and the issue doesn’t gain momentum. For this reason, things won’t likely change, and if my control freak tendencies get the better of me, like they have I the past, I suspect “bad cop” will continue to be the dominant role I play in our family.

The good news is, I think our children are going to turn out great. They have my husband’s calm and laid back demeanor modeled for them on a daily basis. They see the ease at which he goes about everything. They also will for sure know the difference between right and wrong, They will who know how to behave in public, eat healthy, resolve conflicts and grow up to be responsible, well-mannered, resilient adults.

Our girls will hopefully look back and see that there were times when their mom and their dad played each of these roles: bad cop and good cop. Playing the bad cop isn’t easy, and somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t always have to be one person.

 

kids · parenting

4 Rituals to Manifest a Snow Day

Whether or not you believe in legends, superstitions or rituals, they are just downright fun, especially when trying to conjure up a snow day.

Here are 4 rituals for you to try:

1. Wear your pajamas inside out.

2. Put a spoon under your pillow.

3. Flush ice cubes down the toilet.

4. Put a white crayon in the freezer!

Bonus: We have also read to brush your teeth with the opposite hand!

Sleep tight and hopefully you will wake up to your snow day!

Do you know any other snow day rituals? Have any of them worked for you? We would love to know. Please share in the comments!

And once you’ve had your fun in the snow, check out my post on fun indoor play ideas.

foodie · kids · natural lifestyle · parenting

Big Kid Favorites at Aldi

I have two girls, ages 6 and 10. One is a picky eater and the other is a foodie. When I announce we are going to Aldi, they both chant “yay!” because they know good food is on the way.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Fruit. Berries, Honeycrisp apples, grapes, mandarins, whole pineapples and kiwis are some of our faves. Many of them organic. Great prices.

2. Cheese. My picky eater loves the spiral string cheese (cheddar and mozzarella). We also grab her a ball of mozzarella. My foodie girl loves Havarti, Gouda, Muenster and especially blue cheese crumbles.

3. Meats. My picky eater loves the bite-sized salamis and smoked turkey. She also loves their Dino nuggets which has one of the best ingredient lists I’ve seen. My big girl loves the smoked salmon, capocollo, sopressata, and prosciutto. We grab mussels for her from time to time too.

4. Pasta. We love their pasta shells. There is just something about them that is better than what you can get a Walmart. Maybe it’s the pretty bag and great price? They also like any of the raviolis in the refrigerated section. Five cheese is our current fave. Mushroom is good too!

5. Drinks. Both girls love the Pineapple Orange juice and Mango Orange juice. They also like the Kiwi Strawberry drink pouches. The mini water bottles are perfect to grab and go for sports.

6. Snacks and treats. Dark chocolate peanut butter granola bars are delicious and all natural! We love the cookies and cream ice cream. We alternate between the “go go squeeze” type of applesauces and the cups. Both are good. We are also loving the sea salt caramel chocolate chunk cookie dough.

parenting

Teaching Kids to Behave in Public

 

Do you bribe your children to be good in public?

I definitely do. I’ve seen a huge turnaround in Madeline’s behavior since I started intentionally talking to her about where we are going and painting a clear picture for her of what her behavior should look like BEFORE we go in each place we visit (inside voice, walking not running, no begging, complaining or whining, no running away).

That word “before” is so key. We sit in the car for an extra minute and talk about how she should and should not behave before EACH place we visit. Do it every time. After a few days it will just become habit to have these chats and you’ll be motivated to keep doing it when you see the improvement!

Then we talk about what she will earn as a reward. Something small. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on her face.

Since I started doing this consistently she is becoming really fun to shop with!

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This morning we went to Kohl’s, Target, Office Depot, Clothes Mentor and Walmart. The outing cost me this fluffy pillow that I was planning to get her anyway ($4.88 at Walmart) and half a chocolate chip muffie from Panera…I got the other half.

img_7432

If at any point on the outing she forgot, I could just say “fluffy pillow” or “muffie” and see a total 180. People around us probably thought her name was Muffy today. 😂